Jacqueline Bell

Our November Alumni Spotlight shines on Jacqueline Bell, a Baytown, TX native and owner of the Baytown Dance Company. A two-time graduate from Lamar University, Jacqueline earned a Bachelor of Science in Dance in 2012, but not before completing a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2008.

Jackie, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments (both personally and professionally)?

My greatest accomplishment is my family. This includes my high school (and college) sweetheart, Derek, who Jacqueline Bell is also a LU alumni, and our beautiful daughter, Gracie. 

My greatest professional achievement is Baytown Dance Company, a dance studio that I founded in 2012 and is located in my hometown. In our 8th season, we are the studio home to 300+ dancers, ages 3-18, and a 10 person staff. We primarily offer ballet, tap, and jazz classes. Elementary aged dancers have the opportunity to perform Christmas dances at our local high school bazaar and fundraiser each year while our Pom Squad performs at the Houston Rocket’s Half-Time Show. Our season ends with four recital performances held in June at the Lee College Performing Arts Center.

At recital, we started a tradition of awarding $1,000 scholarships to our graduating seniors to put towards their college expenses. Two of our former Senior Company dancers are currently dancing on the Lamar University Dance Team. We hope to continue to instill a love of dance in our students. We also hope to continue to give back to the community by investing in our youth and graduating seniors.

In what way(s) did your time at Lamar University impact your career or who you are today?

My teaching style is formed from every dance teacher I had while a student at Lamar University. I take all of that knowledge with me into every class I teach. My former professors, Lou Arrington and Golden Wright, still support and guide me to this day. I appreciate my experiences with each of my LU dance professors. 

What is your most fond memory or favorite story of your time at Lamar University?

I have fond memories of dancing with the Cardinal Singers at "Lamarissimo!” I enjoyed learning different styles of dance from each professor, as they imparted knowledge of their specialty in ballet, tap, jazz and modern dance techniques. I enjoyed dancing everyday and being pushed by my teachers to become a better dancer in advanced technique classes and within diverse choreography. 

What advice would you give current students and young alumni in your field?

As a student, I would encourage interning or working in the field that you wish to pursue. Gain as much knowledge as you can during your job or internship. 

My advice after graduation would be to follow your passion and to never give up. Keep going! Keep enduring! When you feel tired, rest, but don’t quit. Ask for help and find others that will help you along your journey. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for advice from those with experience. Keep learning! Keep improving! Set a goal, make a plan, and be disciplined in following through.

Jackie, thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences with us. Any final thoughts?

Lamar University Department of Theatre & Dance has a close dance community which fosters a wonderful learning environment. I appreciate my time at Lamar as it has shaped me to be the dancer, choreographer, teacher and business owner that I am today. 

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi